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The novel, The Redemption of Adi,</strong> is now available for purchase!

Order your copy at https://createspace.com/4642389

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…continuation…

It was a week before the wedding and Adi just wished it were over. After the realization that Ze’ev didn’t really love her, all the joy had vanished from the wedding preparations. Life had fallen into a routine of pretending to be a happily engaged couple to the the public and separating upon their return home. So often Adi had thought of locating Matthew, but then decided it was too late for her since the Prince was dead. In an attempt to deal with the situation, she tried to find happiness in the fact that she was no longer bound to Rasha and no longer starving on the streets. Other than love, all her other dreams had come true. Sighing, she broke away from her musings and looked out at the warm sun streaming through her window. It was going to be a beautiful day and she was going to enjoy it at her favorite park. Every bride needed a break from the stress of planning a wedding!

********************************

“Ambassador, Adi is headed to the park, ALONE.” Gabriel announced placing special emphasis on the word alone.

“Ze’ev’s not with her?” Matthew inquired.

“No, only Dagon follows. It seems as if the Shedim believe they have already won.” Gabriel smiled.

Matthew’s eyes lit up with hope. “Gabriel, summon as many Watchers as you can, but do it so as not to attract attention from the Shedim. I am going to talk to Adi one last time and there must be no interruptions. Have some of the Watchers throw Shakti into the abyss before he can alert Ze’ev, and put a guard around Ze’ev. He must not interrupt my meeting with Adi!”

“Yes, sir!” Gabriel responded with energy. It wasn’t long before Gabriel found Jordan and a small band of Watchers entrenched near the flower shop. A few moments passed as the group huddled in a tight circle formulating a plan. As soon as Gabriel left, Jordan discreetly transformed once more into the elderly florist. Hailing a cab, he headed off towards Ze’ev’s home. One by one the other Watchers followed suit. Some remained in their natural state casually flying towards the target while others blended into the bustle of the busy streets and sidewalks. Arriving undetected they gathered in the shadows across the street from the house.

“Gabriel, where’s Michael?” Jordan asked half expecting to meet up with the commander.

“He’s protecting Adi at the park.” Gabriel explained as he stared intently at the quiet house. “I don’t see any Shedim. That’s very odd. Either Ze’ev isn’t home or they’ve really grown lazy.”

“Or maybe they found out we were coming and have planned an ambush.” Jordan whispered.

Gabriel nodded thoughtfully. “Watchers, be on guard and if you have to engage, do so in a way that will not attract other Shedim. In other words, no bolts of light! The Ambassador wants you to get rid of Shakti. Understood?”

The band of Watchers all nodded their heads in understanding. Stepping out of the shadows, Jordan waved the rest to follow slowly and cautiously. Making it across the street undetected, they entered into the house. All was quiet except for a faint chanting music that seemed to float on the air. With stealth, they crept towards the sound. Upon reaching the door from which the music was coming, Jordan motioned for swords to be drawn. Pushing the door open a little, he was able to see Ze’ev sitting peacefully, legs crossed, palms upward. Shakti hovered above, instructing him while two other Shedim loafed nearby. Turning to the waiting Watchers, Jordan signaled the number of Shedim.

Taking a deep breath, Jordan yelled, “For the glory of King Penuel and Prince Joshua!”
The band of Watchers burst into the room startling the Shedim. Before they could react, the angels thrust them quickly into the abyss. Shakti quivered before Jordan’s sword. “You can’t throw me in before the time!”

“Your deceiving days are over, Shakti!” Swinging with all his might, Jordan sent Shakti tumbling and screaming into the fires.

“Shakti?” an alarmed voice broke through the fading screams. Jordan looked at Ze’ev who sat blinking in confusion.

Ze’ev had been sitting completely mesmerized by Shakti’s words when he felt a disturbance of energy enter the room. He had seen Shakti’s look of alarm before disappearing completely. Not understanding what had happened, Ze’ev jerked awake calling out to her.

Jordan looked at the band of warriors with approval. “That went well. Now if the rest of the plan can go as smoothly, the Ambassador will have a chance to speak with Adi. We are to stay here and guard Ze’ev.”

…to be continued…

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…continuation…

Adi walked into her bedroom placing her purse down on her bed. Just as she was about to give into the temptation to run a hot bath for her tense muscles, she heard Ze’ev’s voice call her name.

“Adi?” Ze’ev angrily hollered.

Slowly, Adi walked down the hallway towards the kitchen. “What is it, Ze’ev? Is everything okay?”

“Where have you been?” he demanded.

“I’ve been with the wedding coordinator picking out a florist!”

“Ah, yes, the florist!” Ze’ev sneered sarcastically. “What were you thinking in picking that old man?”

Confused by his anger, Adi shouted back, “Mr. Jordan is my friend!”

“I don’t care if he’s your friend, he won’t support us in the election, Adi!”

“Does everything have to be about you, Ze’ev?

Losing control, Ze’ev slapped her cheek, “How dare you? After all I’ve done for you can’t you give a little back to me?”

Touching her stinging face, Adi stared in shock as Ze’ev continued on his tirade,
“You have no clue how hard I am working to ensure a good future for us! We need to have people with money and influence helping us to push us to the top! I’ve explained this to you before!”

“But I don’t see how Mr. Jordan will ruin that?”

“Are you stupid? He’s from the other side of town and he’s not to be trusted.” He growled at her.

Summoning up courage, Adi plowed on, “But he’s my friend!”

Sticking a finger in Adi’s pale face, Ze’ev shouted, “He’s not your friend! You are to never see him again! Do you understand?”

Adi pushed him away, “You have no right to talk to me like that! I’m not your prisoner. You don’t own me!”

Ze’ev slapped her again. “You’re mine, Adi. I’ll talk to you anyway I want to.”

Refusing to be intimidated, Adi threatened, “I’m not yours yet, Ze’ev! Maybe I’ll call the wedding off and marry the Prince when he gets out of prison!”

Ze’ev stared at her in surprise and then began to laugh, “Marry the Prince?” He mocked. Grabbing her by the nape of her neck, he shoved her forward to his office, “The Prince is dead! They killed him! Would you like the gory details? No? Maybe some pictures will convince you!” Pushing her hard against his desk, he let go reaching for a manila envelope. Pulling the contents out, he waved the pictures in her face. “Here is your Prince, Adi!”

Adi stared in horror at the graphic pictures of Prince Joshua being beaten and his still bloodied form lying in the sand. “NO!” she screamed in terror.

“Oh, yes, Adi! The Prince is dead, he didn’t fulfill the sentence. Do you know what that means, Adi?” Ze’ev sneered.

Not waiting for a response, he continued, “You’ll have to go to prison and serve out the seven years or you marry me! Looks like I’m your only hope now, Adi!” Bursting into laughter, Ze’ev left the room.

Adi stood there paralyzed with fear. She had never seen this side of Ze’ev before. She had only sensed this darker side lurking below the surface, but she just assumed she was being paranoid. Now the real Ze’ev was beginning to show and the truth of him nauseated her. The pictures proving Joshua’s death robbed all hope from her. Either way she looked at it, she was a prisoner. “No!” Running from the office, she fled to her room locking the door behind her.

Michael stood silently in the shadows watching the ugly scene unfold. For every harsh word and every slap on Adi’s face, he flinched and clenched his sword. Every part of his being wanted to protect her from the abuse, but he remained still knowing that it was in her better interest to see the truth about Ze’ev. Surprised that Michael did nothing, Dagon chortled, “What’s the matter, Watcher, lose your nerve? Or have you finally realized that she’s not worth it?”

Michael stared angrily at Dagon, but kept silent.

**********************

When all the tears were shed and Adi could cry no more, she reached for the snow globe that Jordan had given to her. Staring into it she wished that she could just disappear inside and live in that magical world with whoever the mystery man was. She now realized that the groom inside with love in his eyes was not Ze’ev. Poking through her clouded thoughts, a memory of a dream surfaced. Once more she saw the cascading waterfall tumbling over jagged rocks and into a blue pool of water. As the mist floated upwards, the water molecules twisted themselves into the formation of a bridal veil. Hearing her name being called, she turned to see a man running toward her with arms outstretched. Immediately, she recognized the deep brown eyes and compassionate smile. The groom in her dream and in the snow globe was Prince Joshua!

…to be continued…

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When Ze’ev first mentioned that they would have to wait six months before getting married, Adi felt that it would be a long wait, but she was wrong. The months were speeding by quickly as the demands of public appearances increased especially after Ze’ev announced his intent to run for President of Soteria. It didn’t come as too much of a surprise to her. Since the time they had announced their engagement, his popularity increased to the point of being well-known in all of Soteria. She had been apart of the conversations in which people prodded Ze’ev to run. Even though her relationship with Ze’ev wasn’t where she wanted it to be, she still felt a thrill of excitement seeing Ze’ev’s promises to her coming true.

Three months passed in a whirlwind of activities leaving Adi exhausted. Shuffling towards her desk, she picked up her daily planner to see who she was meeting with that day. Squinting from the hangover from the night before, she rubbed her head as she strained to make out her handwriting. Florists. Sighing, Adi knew she would have another long day a head of her to decide on which florist to choose for her wedding. It seemed as if her wedding had turned political. Ze’ev’s “secret” advisor told him that she had to choose the venus that were willing to trade favors. If the business agreed to offer financial and political support to Ze’ev, they would choose them to be apart of the wedding ensuring that business more sales and popularity.

Tugging a brush through her hair, Adi sighed with disappointment. She was living the life of her dreams, popularity, wealth, prestige, and love. Why did she feel so empty? She had begun to hate these quiet times when she stood face to face with her doubts. Questions constantly plagued her – who was Ze’ev meeting? Why was there a growing darkness in his eyes? Something was not right. Sighing, Adi threw the brush down muttering under her breath, “You’re imagining things, Adi”. Leaning into the mirror she continued to talk to herself, “You need to give yourself a day off, girl!”

Upon arriving at the wedding coordinator’s office, Adi was ushered into the conference room. Hours dragged by as the coordinator and Adi interviewed each florist. Growing weary, Adi sat back staring at the coordinator, “How many more?”

Looking at her calendar, she responded, “One left. We can cancel if you’d like.”

Sighing, Adi leaned forward stretching her back and shoulder muscles, “No, let’s just finish it.”

Upon hearing Adi’s request, the woman rushed out to call the last florist in. At the sound of movement, Adi looked up locking eyes with the newcomer. Straightening up with surprise, she squeaked out, “Mr. Jordan?”

The older man grinned. “Do you think that I would miss out on the opportunity to help my young friend? I’ve been following your wedding plans in the paper. I have several ideas on how to do the arrangements!”

In spite of her embarrassment over how she had last left him, she couldn’t help but warm up to him. Waving a hand to the empty chair next to her, she invited, “Sure, Mr. Jordan! You always were very creative!”

As she sat there listening to his excited descriptions of how he envisioned the floral arrangements, she couldn’t help but notice the feelings of peace and security that she felt when she was with him. When he was finished, Adi stood smiling, “Well, Mr. Jordan, you’re hired.”

Looking pleased, the stooped man took her hand that she had extended to him and shook it gratefully. “Come by the shop tomorrow and we’ll go over the details!” Without waiting for a reply, he shuffled out the door.

Feeling pleased with herself, Adi turned to stare in the disapproving face of the coordinator. “Adi, Ze’ev will not approve of this choice. He’s a poor florist who will not be a benefit to the campaign.”

Raising her chin slightly, Adi stared back stubbornly, “True, but he’s my friend and I want to help him. Not everything has to be about the campaign.”

Snapping her black leather notepad shut, the coordinator repeated, “Ze’ev will not like it, but I’ll just let him deal with you.”

Heat crept up Adi’s neck. “Deal with me? Why should he DEAL with me? This is MY wedding!”

Shrugging, the woman looked coldly back at Adi, “If you say so. I have other clients waiting for me now.” Quickly she left the room leaving Adi standing there angry and confused. What was going on? It seemed as if there was more to this wedding that everyone else knew but her. Memories of Rasha standing over her with his beefy fist raised in the air ready to strike caused her to shudder. What did the coordinator mean – deal with her as if she were a prisoner? The thought stuck at her – a prisoner? Is that what I really am – a prisoner to society’s expectations? A prisoner to Ze’ev? Am I really free? Shaking off the fear, Adi made a quick decision to visit the flower shop before going home.

*************************

“Jordan, Adi has decided to visit the florist shop now. She’s on her way.” Gabriel announced to the startled Watcher. “Help encourage her to talk about her doubts and inform her that the Prince will be released from prison the same day as her wedding.”

“Yes, sir.”

“Get there before she does. Now go.” Gabriel commanded.

Jordan flew like lightning, arriving in plenty of time to unlock the shop and gather some roses to work with. Adi found him sitting perched on his stool, glasses pushed to the end of his nose, gently cutting thorns off the perfect red rose he held. “You’re the rose, Adi.” Memories came flooding back to their last conversation about the Gardener taking extreme care of the rose.

Looking up at the sound of her approach, Jordan smiled in surprise, “Adi! If you had come tomorrow, I would have had a centerpiece to show you for your approval.”

Dismissing his concern with a wave of her hand, Adi smiled, “Don’t worry, Mr. Jordan. It was good to see you again today. Your visit made me realize that I missed our talks.” Sensing her uneasiness, Jordan remained silent allowing her time to sort out her thoughts. Finding the courage to continue, Adi quietly apologized, “I’m sorry for the way I ran out the last time I was here.”

Jordan raised an eyebrow at her, “You’re forgiven, Adi. I’m so glad that you came back.” Seeing Adi’s face brighten, Jordan asked, “So, how are the wedding plans coming?”

“Exhausting.” It wasn’t long before Adi began chattering about all that had happened, is happening, and about to happen. Listening silently, Jordan continued working on sculpting and trimming. When Adi came to the end of her story, Jordan quietly questioned, “Sounds like maybe you’re having some doubts? Maybe Ze’ev is not who he really is?”

Adi moved about uncomfortably. “It’s just cold feet. I hear that all brides go through this. I’m sure everything will work out fine, he’s just under a lot of pressure.”

Seizing the opportunity of Adi’s insecurity, Jordan inquired, “Did you know that Prince Joshua is to be released the day of your wedding? He will have fulfilled his promise to you.”

Gasping Adi cried out, “But Joshua is dead! They killed him!”

“Do you really think that he would go through such great lengths knowing that he would never make good on his promise?”

Seeing that his words were making an impact, he held up his now completed project. “What do you think?”

Looking at the painted glass jar filled with water and glitter, she crinkled her nose, “What is it?”

“What is it?” The old man chuckled, “Haven’t you seen a snow globe before?”

“Yes, but most globes have a scene in it and this one is just a painted jar!” She laughed.

“Oh, I guess I am showing you the wrong side.” Turning it around, Adi took a deep breath in. The scene was so familiar. A beautiful waterfall cascading down a mountain into a blue pool of water. At the base, stood a bride and groom embracing. Where had she seen that scene before?

“It’s beautiful!” She gasped.

Handing the globe to her, he sheepishly said, “Call it an early wedding gift.”

With appreciation, Adi threw her arms around his neck, savoring the comfort she felt. Jordan gently held her. After a few moments, she pushed back, “I have to go. Ze’ev will be worried.”

After Adi left, Matthew stepped from the shadows. Acknowledging the Ambassador’s presence, Jordan bowed. “Sir, she didn’t recognize the scene in the snow globe!”

A look of excitement was on Matthew’s face. Hearing Adi put a voice to her doubts about Ze’ev and her lack of defensiveness showed great progress. “Don’t worry, Jordan, she will remember the dream that she had, and when she does, she’ll be surprised to see who her groom really is!”

…to be continued…

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…continuation…

Sitting across from him, Adi took in his strong masculine form. He was dressed in a dark blue suit with a white shirt unbuttoned at the collar. His black hair neatly combed and clean shaven face made him the most attractive man in Soteria. A longing for his approval welled up inside of her, I wonder if he really loves me. She thought.

Placing his menu aside, Ze’ev reached across holding onto Adi’s hands. “Adi, we’ve been engaged now for over a year. I think it’s time we discuss a wedding date!”

Joy and relief flooded over her, “Really?”

“Of course, I’ve only held off because I knew you were struggling with your health. I didn’t want to pressure you, but now that you’re better we should discuss it!”

Tears gathered in her eyes, “Oh, Ze’ev, I thought that maybe you didn’t want to marry me after all!”

“Not marry you? Why would I not want to marry the most beautiful girl in Soteria?” Ze’ev feigned surprise.

Blushing, Adi smiled happily at him, “When would you like to get married?”

“In six months.”

Adi looked at him in surprise. “You’ve already thought about this?”

Ze’ev shrugged looking sheepish, “Of course I have. There’s a lot to do since this will be the biggest event in Soteria by far. What do you say?”

“I say, yes!” Adi grinned excitedly.

*********************

Frustrated, Matthew tossed the paper onto the motel bed and stared at Gabriel the bearer of the news. Thomas looked up from where he sat perusing the internet.

“What’s wrong, sir?”

Letting out a great sigh, Matthew responded, “Adi and Ze’ev have set a date for their wedding. It’s all over the papers that Gabriel brought. They are to be married the same day the Prince is released from prison.”

Thomas shook his head sadly, “Well, I guess… Wait a minute, you said Prince Joshua will be released on the same day?”
Matthew nodded. “But, but, why doesn’t she just wait to see what the Prince has to say?”

“This is clearly Rasha’s plan. It serves two purposes, one – it distracts people’s attention from the Prince’s release. Word leaked out about the beating and so most Soterian’s think he’s dead. Rasha wants it to remain that way so people won’t see that the Prince fulfilled his promise of pardon. Secondly, what better way to inflict more pain upon an enemy by stealing away his love on the same day he could have had her.”

“That is just sick.” Thomas shook his head in disgust. “I guess Adi got what she wanted – love, fame, and fortune!”

Shaking his head despondently, Matthew replied, “No, Thomas, she did not get what she wanted. She only thinks that she did. Her fame and fortune won’t last. Once the wedding is over she won’t even be a memory to anyone. As for love, she never found it. Her “love” will betray her.”

Thomas remained silent for a moment absorbing what the Ambassador had predicted. Breaking the silence, he solemnly asked, “You know what’s going to happen to her don’t you?”

“Rasha and Ze’ev are plotting to have her killed after the wedding ceremony. While partiers think that the happy couple have retreated to their honeymoon suite, Rasha will be sending Adi to the fiery abyss where the Prince cannot go. She’ll be lost to him forever.”

Thomas gasped in horror. “Sir, we must warn her!”

“What do think we’ve been doing, Thomas?” Matthew snapped. “She won’t believe us! Very soon, Adi will realize that her unbelief has sent her to the place of her worst nightmares.” Turning his attention to Gabriel, Matthew commanded, “Tell Michael to double the forces and have the Watchers ready at a moment’s notice. If they need to engage, now is the time. They are not to hold back. Also, instruct Michael to persuade Adi to visit Jordan in the flower shop.”

“Yes, sir. Will that be all, sir?”

Matthew nodded in deep thought waving away Gabriel. Gabriel shot into the air in search for Michael.

…to be continued…

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…continuation…

Late Saturday evening, a group of men quietly met in Ze’ev’s office. Looking about suspiciously Rasha gruffly asked, “Where’s Adi?”

“She went to bed hours ago.” Ze’ev replied as he looked over the group of men. Lounging in a smooth leather winged chair, sat Adi’s doctor. Dr. Lawrence was the prominent physician for the upper class and spokesperson for all things medical. To his left, sitting in another leather chair was the president and CEO of the largest pharmaceutical company. John Tyler kept his company on the cutting edge of technology by hiring the best scientists and by planting secret agents among other companies. Several law suits were brought against him for stealing formulas, but nothing could be proven most likely due to the help of Aiden Bristol. Ze’ev had met Aiden the night of the gala almost five years ago. At the time, Aiden had been a successful lawyer that was quickly moving on up. Now he was a judge presiding in the Supreme Court of Soteria. Ze’ev tried to cover the chuckle that threatened to escape. The irony of it all seeing a man that was supposed to uphold the law and yet here he sat plotting to overthrow the Soterian government. Ze’ev’s eyes traveled to the distinguished gentleman who stood pouring himself a drink from the mini bar. Of course, every secret group had to have a banker/politician. William Bennet, the man accused of murdering his wife, looked up from the drink he was pouring to stare at the person who just walked into the office. Surprised by the intrusion, Ze’ev turned to see who it was. Lorretta Van Hilt, the famous actress! What was she doing here? Sensing the unspoken question of the group, Rasha announced, “Many of you don’t know that Loretta is not just an actress. She is the one who strongly influences the ideologies that the entertainment industry pushes. We need her on our side.”

Casually taking a sip of his vodka, Bennet asked, “So what’s the plan to get Ze’ev into office, Rasha?”

“The plan is simple, mind control. He who controls the mind, controls everything!” Rasha grinned at the simplicity of his statement.

Confused, Bennett pressed, “Mind control makes sense, but how do you plan on accomplishing that?”

Rasha laughed with glee, “It’s almost already done and most of you aren’t even aware of it!”

Feeling annoyed, Bennett snapped, “Enlighten us then.”

Lorretta interrupted, purring like a cat, “Allow me. It is said that the eyes are the windows to the soul. “The entertainment industry at first showed them what they wanted- values and family, but through the years, we integrated the New Age philosophies without the audience even knowing it. Little by little, we introduced violence, vulgarity, immorality, and self-worship. Because entertainment provided an escape to their mundane lives and gave them pleasure, they were willing to overlook the offense. It didn’t take long before they craved more and more. The gorier and more sexual, the better. Over time, they have become desensitized and have forsaken their principles. In place of morality, they have accepted the New Age idea that there is no absolute truth. They create their own truth because there really is no right or wrong. They are to believe only in themselves.”

Rasha gave Loretta a pat on the back, “I say Lorretta has done a fine job.” Looking over to Dr. Lawrence, Rasha asked, “How are your patients doing, Dr. Lawrence?”

Clearing his throat, the doctor straightened in his chair. “Quite well. I have found that many patients who have compromised their morality and depend only upon themselves battle guilt, loneliness, and sadness. They describe it as a void that cannot be filled. In their search to be released from this illness they come to me. Naturally, I recommend for them take Fluoxetine to help their ‘depression’.” He chuckled at the inside joke. “Their senses are dulled making them easily influenced.”

“Wait a minute. Are you saying depression isn’t real?” Ze’ev asked suspiciously.

“No, I’m not saying that at all. Depression is real and there are some that truly need the medication, but I have many patients that struggle with normal sadness brought on by a tragic event in their lives or as stated before, searching to escape the guilt or lonely feelings. They come to me thinking they are clinically depressed or for some I have to nudge them into believing they are so they’ll accept the prescription I offer to them.”

“Mr. Tyler is doing a great job in finding “medicinal” ways to sabotage the mind!” Rasha laughed as John Tyler smiled deviously. “Speaking of drugs.” Rasha continued, “Crystal meth and heroine use is spreading quickly among the teens and young adults of Soteria. They are so desperate to be accepted among their peers that they’ll try anything. Little do they realize that with one try, they can become addicted. They have been deceived into destroying their own minds!” An evil chuckle went around the group.

Another voice sounded in the room, “And I am trying to pass laws that prohibit free speech. If anyone speaks against the new morality or even of King Penuel, they will be considered closed minded, intolerant, and a bully. Anyone who speaks or even dares think differently from society will be considered a threat. No one will dare go against the New World Order!” Aiden looked smug as he lit his cigar.

Not to be out done, William Bennett chimed in, “I think we need to plan an economic disaster. When people’s way of life is threatened, they will agree to anything. Order out of chaos will be how we get Ze’ev into power. If he can bring stability to the economy, people will follow him.”

Excitement coursed through Ze’ev as he began to understand the deceptive plan that had already been in place for years. The lust for power and wealth burned within him causing him to wish that he didn’t have to wait the two years to marry Adi.

…to be continued…

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…continuation…

Even though it was mid day, the sky grew ominously dark over Soteria. With a sense of foreboding, Adi moved restlessly about in her room. Sighing, she wrapped a warm blanket over her and curled up on the love seat. Once more she lifted her left hand to stare at the diamond ring Ze’ev had given to her. It was a beautiful one karat square cut diamond surrounded by smaller diamonds. Ze’ev wanted to make sure that no one would miss the fact that she was taken, he had proudly explained. Staring at the glittering diamonds, she wondered for the hundredth time why she couldn’t feel more excited. Marrying the most sought after bachelor was a dream true. Shouldn’t she be happier?

Growing sleepy, Adi closed her eyes and drifted off to sleep. In the darkness she could make out a faint cry. Slowly feeling her way toward the sound, the darkness opened up into a damp cold room that held an unstable cot with a stained mattress. Shock resonanted within her as she realized that she was standing in a prison cell. The weeping that she had heard increasingly grew louder drawing her attention away from the bars on the windows. Turning around, she saw a man kneeling on the cold floor with his face pressed against the cement sobbing in desperation. The loneliness and pain of this man pulled at her heart. Unable to bear watching him cry, she moved toward him, kneeling next to him. “It will be okay.” She whispered.

Upon hearing her voice, the man tearfully looked up. Without condemnation, the man pleaded, “Adi, what have you done? Does my sacrifice mean nothing to you?”

Adi recoiled in shock as she recognized the voice of the Prince. Scrambling to her feet, she desperately searched for a way to escape back into the darkness. Tears streamed down her face as she hit the walls frantically. All the while the Prince kept whispering over and over, “I love you, Adi!”

“No!” She screamed jolting awake. She lay there a long time quietly sobbing. If only… A flash of anger coursed through her, He’s dead and no use crying over something that is lost. She thought.

With resolve, Adi marched over to her nightstand pulling open the drawer. Reaching in, she pulled out her bottle of antidepressant and read the possible side affects. Vivid dreams it said. I need to get off these pills and enjoy being with the one who is alive!Quickly she threw them in the trash. Fearful that Ze’ev would find out, she retrieved the bottle and flushed the pills down the toilet. There’s no need for Ze’ev to know. Once I’m happy again, he won’t care. She reassured herself.

******************************

Warm rays of sunlight cast a glow on the secret meeting taking place on the usual park bench. Ze’ev squinted against the light as he turned to face Rasha in annoyance, “I don’t want to marry Adi. She’s so boring and moody. She never wants to do anything!”

“I’m paying you handsomely for marrying her am I not?” Rasha barked.

“Yes, and that’s not the point. I just don’t see how I can keep being so nice to her when she drives me insane!”

Rasha chuckled, “Don’t worry, Ze’ev. You only have two years left with her.”

Puzzled, Ze’ev craned his neck to take a better look at Rasha, “Two years?”

Giving a satisfied sigh, Rasha crossed his beefy arms over his rotund belly. “Tell her that you’ll marry in April, two years from now. That is the date the Prince will be released from prison. Can you imagine the shock he will feel, when he discovers that Adi just got married?” Rasha clapped his hands in delight.

Ze’ev, feeling a little less enthusiastic, grumbled, “But what about me? I don’t want to be married to her.”

“You won’t have to be. Just after the wedding ceremony, I’ll make sure she disappears forever.”

“What are you going to do to her?”

“I’m going to send her to a place that not even the Prince is allowed to go. And the best part is I’m not really sending her there, it’s where she has chosen to go! If she doesn’t accept the Prince’s proposal, then she has sealed her fate forever.” Again, Rasha clapped his hands with delightful anticipation.

Confused, Ze’ev just shrugged. What did it matter to him just as long as he made out okay?

Rasha stood to leave pausing to give a word of warning, “Keep her on the anti-depressants. We don’t want her to think for herself again after we’ve come so far. You will be paid well for doing so.”

Ze’ev hesitated wondering if he should bring up the subject, but he figured he deserved to know, so he plowed ahead, “Rasha, you had promised that I would be able to rule Soteria if I married Adi. When does that happen?”

Rasha smiled, “Now. I will make sure that your engagement will be widely publicized. You and Adi will be seen as a magical couple, a couple that offers true love to young starry eyed girls and hope to broken marriages. By the end of these two years, you will be widely known and people will want you as their next leader. When they hear of your bride’s tragic death on your wedding day even those who oppose you will be moved with pity to vote you in. We will meet this weekend at your home with a group who are tired of the political parties Soteria has now. Our dream is to bring someone into power who can unite both sides and usher in the next stage of evolution – the New Age! We believe that you are the man for that job, Ze’ev!”

Glowing at the confidence that Rasha displayed in him, Ze’ev grinned, “I’ll be ready!”

…to be continued…

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